|Bharatha Killed, Duminda Wounded - Gun Culture
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|Author:||Saman [ Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:48 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Bharatha Killed, Duminda Wounded - Gun Culture|
Bharatha Killed, Duminda Wounded
Long standing rivalry turns ugly on polls day
The Sunday Leader, Sunday, October 30, 2011
A longstanding rivalry between two government members, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and Duminda Silva, turned ugly on election day yesterday resulting in Premachandra being killed and Silva suffering serious head injuries.
Director of the Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital Dr. Shavendra Gamage told The Sunday Leader last night that even after over four hours of surgery last evening a bullet still remained in Silva’s head and he was receiving treatment at the intensive care unit of the hospital.
The clash erupted when Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and Duminda Silva met each other face to face in Hindutana lane in Mulleriyawa just as voting in the local government election was about to end last evening.
A heated argument had ensued between the two and a bodyguard of MP Silva opened fire towards bodyguards of Presidential Advisor Premachandra. Gunshots were then traded between both sides and this resulted in Premachandra and two others being killed and Silva suffering serious injuries, police sources told The Sunday Leader.
A large number of Duminda Silva’s supporters thronged to the Sri Jayewardenapura Hospital and some were even manning the security points in the hospital that led to the intensive care unit. The youth stood side by side with the hospital security staff to check the passes given to the visitors to the hospital. Several VIPs also made their way to the hospital to inquire into Silva’s condition.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was one of the first VIPs to arrive at the hospital and stayed at the hospital for over one hour. Director General of the Media Center for National Security (MCNS) Lakshman Hulugalle and several other state officials also arrived at the hospital. Meanwhile, STF personnel were deployed to provide security to the hospital. Police and Special Task Force officers had been deployed in Mulleriyawa and a dusk to dawn curfew was also imposed till 6 a.m. this morning.
The rivalry between Duminda Silva and Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra goes as way back as when Silva was in the UNP, intelligence sources told The Sunday Leader. After he joined the government he was given the UPFA Kollonawa chief organizer post which was earlier held by Premachandra. Duminda was later given the chance to contest for a seat in parliament under the UPFA ticket. Things got out of hand when Silva recently assaulted the former chairman of the Mulleriyawa-Kottikawatte Pradeshiya Sabha, Prasanna Solangarachi, a supporter of Premachandra, intelligence sources said. Solangarachi was a candidate for yesterday’s election and Premachandra ran into Silva in Mulleriyawa while the former was on the road in support of Solangarachi.
Police Spokesman, Maxi Proctor, said that investigations into yesterday’s shooting had been handed over to the CID.
|Author:||Saman [ Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:01 pm ]|
|Post subject:||'Duminda Silva shot Bharatha Lakshman'|
'Duminda Silva shot Bharatha Lakshman'
12 October, 2011 -
The driver of the slain Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra has told police that MP Duminda Silva fired at Mr Premachandra after he fell down to the ground.
Driver, Saman Shantha Perera's statement to the the Criminal Investigation Department ( CID) was presented to the Magistrate Court, Colombo on Wedneday.
He has stated that MP, Duminda Silva who arrived at the scene had assaulted Mr.Premachandra. Then, he had taken his pistol and opened fire at the fallen politician, driver Perera has said.
The court also ordered to remand a policeman arrested in connection with the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.
The policeman, Anura Thusara de Mel attached to the Mirihana Police Station served as a bodyguard to MP Duminda Silva.
CID, quoting driver of late Mr.Premachandra told court that the driver had identified the bodyguard Anura Thusara de Mel who had used a T56 assault rifle to fire at Mr. Premachandra, CID
|Author:||Saman [ Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:24 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Two sides accuse each other|
Two sides accuse each other
@ By Yohan Perera /Oct 10, 2011 /DM
Sanjeewa Bandara, an eye witness to the Mulleriyawa shooting incident said that supporters of MP Duminda Silva opened fire at late MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra felling him, in front of police officers on the day of polling.
The eye witness, who is a supporter of Mr. Premachandra, said that Mr. Premachandra had been shot a number of times, but none of the police officers on duty in the area had come to his aid or even to take him to hospital.
He said, "When we were engaged in election activities with Mr. Premachandra, we got news at about 3.30 pm that some supporters and the wife of the Prasanna Solangaarachchi, the chairman of the Kotikawatta and Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha, were being assaulted with clubs by Mr. Duminda Silva and his supporters near the old Angoda Police Station. Bharatha Lakshman decided to go there. We went with him to the place in question by the old police station on the Himbutana road.
Near the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Library in Walpola we came upon Duminda Silva and his group who were coming from opposite direction in vehicles. They stopped; blocking our vehicle.
Duminda got out from his vehicle and came towards us. He abused Bharatha Lakshman in indecent language. Then he struck him and pulled him out of the vehicle. Then the two struggled and Bharatha Lakshman fell on the ground. Then Duminda asked his companions to shoot him. Duminda's security personnel started shooting at Bharatha with T-56 rifles. They fired at us with about ten T-56 rifles. Nobody came to take Bharatha to hospital. There were police officers present but none of them helped take him to hospital.
With much difficulty we took him to the I.D.H. base hospital. We heard later that he had died in the intensive care unit.
A businessman who witnessed the incident said, on condition of anonymity, "I saw Duminda Silva and Bharatha fighting on the road. During the fight Bharatha fell down. Then a volley of shots were fired from both sides. Both Bharatha and Duminda were injured in the shooting.
He added, "I was near the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Library on the Himbutana road in Walpola. Duminda Silva and his companions were travelling towards Himbutana in a convoy of vehicles. Bharatha and his companions were proceeding from Himbutana towards Angoda. The two convoys met. Both Bharatha and Duminda got out of their vehicles and began abusing each other in indecent language. This turned into a brawl soon. An exchange of gunfire followed. Who started the firing was not clear. I saw Bharatha being shot. Both Bharatha and Duminda fell on the ground. Their supporters took them to hospital.
However, sources close to Mr. Duminda Silva said that it was an aide of Mr. Premachandra, who started the shooting.
"They had provoked Mr. Silva's men. That is the reason for the incident,” they said.
|Author:||Saman [ Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:28 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Dematagoda Chaminda confesses|
Murder in Mulleriyawa
Dematagoda Chaminda confesses
@ LakbimaNews /Sunday 23 October 2011
Underworld characters in custody have provided details to the CID, which information has helped the CID in their efforts to nab suspects directly linked to the Mulleriyawa murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, Presidential Advisor last week.
The incident that took place towards the end of polling on October 8 would no doubt add a black mark to the already sordid history of the country’s election system.
It would also be noted as the worst ever incident that had taken place in the entire history of the LG polling in the country. Adding to that is the clamping of a curfew in the area on an election day -- first since the 2004 general elections. What is also of significance is that this clash was not one that took place between members of the government and the opposition – with Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and MP R. Duminda Silva both being members of the ruling SLFP-led UPFA government.
Utmost to scuttle campaign
To compound issues the feud between the two antagonists, both sides wielding weapons to boot, was not for their personal supremacy at the elections but in support of candidates of the two factions contesting for seats in the Mulleriyawa/Kotikawatta Pradeshiya Sabha (PS).
It was Prasanna Solangaarachchi (the former head of this PS and reportedly a popular figure in the area) who was promoted by the Premachandra faction for this electorate. However, MP Duminda Silva who was the organizer for Kolonnawa wanted another person to head the Mulleriyawa/Kotikawatta Pradeshiya Sabha. It has been also reported that MP Silva had done his utmost to scuttle the political campaign of Solangaarachchi, which had spurred on Premachandra to wholeheartedly support Solangaarachchi. The vendetta that had prevailed resulted in the election to the Mulleriyawa/Kotikawatta Pradeshiya Sabha to be one that was hotly contested -- more so than any of the other LG bodies.
This situation and the ongoing feud between these two factions led the way for members of the underworld to get a foothold in the campaigning in Mulleriyawa. Sources say that the police too were partial towards one faction in the run up to the polls. These underworld figures who had got involved in the campaign had started harassing Solangaarachchi and had gone as far as to destroy his party office, his banners etc -- and had proved to be an obstacle to his election campaign. Complaints made in this regard were apparently not recorded by the police according to reports.
Being so harassed turned out to be fortuitous to Solangaarachchi who had thereby received tremendous sympathetic support from the public, also since he belonged to the area – being born and brought up in Kolonnawa. It was in this backdrop that on the day of the LG polls on October 8, one faction had armed underworld groups openly patrolling the areas of Mulleriyawa/Kotikawatta. While the police had provided added security in Kolonnawa, anticipating a clash, the armed underworld groups were seen roaming the streets, with the police turning a blind eye. Thus this turn of events resulted in Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and four others losing their lives, while MP Duminda Silva sustained critical head injuries.
According to eye witness accounts armed supporters of MP Duminda Silva had attacked a group of Solanga- arachchi supporters -- as well as his wife. Meanwhile, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra who had been at ‘Salmal Uyana’ with a group of party activists, was informed that Solangarachchi’s wife had been attacked by Duminda Silva’s supporters.
He had then proceeded towards Mulleriyawa with his driver, an officer from the Ministerial Security Division and two police officers from the Wellampitiya police. When Premachandra’s vehicle was approaching the Walpola junction at Angoda he met head-on the convoy of MP Duminda Silva. Premachandra’s driver Saman Perera said that MP Silva’s convoy comprised of around 20 vehicles including Defenders and Land Cruisers. “One of the Defender’s and a Land Cruiser came straight at us and stopped in such a way that our path was blocked preventing us from proceeding. MP Silva got off the Land Cruiser and walked towards us. Bharatha Lakshman too then got out of his vehicle. Both then traded verbal insults, and then MP Silva struck Bharatha Lakshman’s face. Immediately Bharatha Lakshman fell down and MP Silva then shot him with a firearm,” said Perera, (Premachandra’s driver) to the CID officers investigating the case. Perera went on to say the thereafter a police officer attached to MP Silva had shot at the fallen Premachandra with a T56 rifle. This statement led to the police officer attached to the Mirihana police being taken into custody.
Who fired first?
The story related by MP Duminda Silva’s folks is different. While the story runs along the same lines until the attack on Premachandra, the other faction says that the first shot was fired by a security officer attached to Premachandra, after he (Premachandra) fell down on being struck by MP Silva. They also say that it was that shot that hit MP Silva’s head -- resulting in his (Silva’s) security officers surrounding Premachandra and firing at him.
Meanwhile, the CID has said that the evidence they have been able to unearth is falling into place although they are not in a position to go public with the results of their investigations at this point in time. Further investigations are underway.
Criminals and arms taken in
The CID was also able to nab six known underworld criminals in this connection, rounded up from Wattala, Himbutana, Hokandara and Dematagoda. Among them are two army deserters. These two suspects are alleged to be supporters of Duminda Silva and were allegedly armed on the day of the fateful incident.
The CID has also been able to confiscate 16 firearms from the possession of Duminda Silva’s supporters and his security officers.
As is usual, a MP is entitled to two security officers. However, in the case of MP Duminda Silva he has had a coterie of security officers and underworld characters accompanying him with a cache of firearms such as two T-56 rifles, 12 pistols and two revolvers.
Yet another known underworld figure had been Dematagoda Chaminda who was sought by the police for quite a while. He had been able to evade being arrested due to ‘protection’ he had received from his political master or masters. The CID has widened their dragnet to nab Dematagoda Chaminda in their efforts to solve this horrible crime that sent shockwaves throughout the country last week.
However, reports say that Dematagoda Chaminda had fled to Mumbai, India along with another suspect -- and the CIDs efforts to impound their passports were not successful. Yet another suspect that the CID is seeking to nab is Athurugiriye Galabadaya, who it is alleged is an army deserter, and has been directly involved in many crimes.
Plot to assasinate Bharatha and Prasanna revealed
From the beginning of this year information had come to light of a plot to assassinate Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and Prasanna Solangaarachchi, in a contract killing.
This had been related by two underworld characters who had been arrested by the Mirihana police. These two suspects – 18 and 20 years of age and who are residents of Nawagamuwa had been arrested at Galkiriyagama.
They were charged with the murder of a prominent government activist and a person who had been domiciled in Italy for a long time, Kingsley Rajapaksa, opposite the Keselwatta police station.
They had told the police that they had carried out the contract killing for a fee of Rs.500,000 at the request of another underworld figure, Navy Asanka, who had drowned recently. It was at this time that information had surfaced about the plan to assassinate Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and Prasanna Solangaarachchi. Another startling revelation is that a politician is being linked to the heinous plot.
Dematagoda Chaminda confesses
Although it was stated that Dematagoda Chaminda had fled to Mumbai, the Indian Immigration officials who had been briefed about the two wanted criminals, re-routed the plane which he had boarded to Chennai in consultation with officials here. Sri Lankan officials then flew to Chennai and were able to arrest him there. They returned to Sri Lanka on October 12 with the two suspects who had fled the country.
On being questioned the suspects had provided information on the whereabouts of the weapons (a T56 rifle and a revolver) that had been in their possession which were thereafter recovered from a house in Rajagiriya. Further interrogation revealed that it had been Dematagoda Chaminda who had ordered his cadres to shoot at Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra -- while also having provided the weapons to carry out the crime.
When questioned by the CID, Dematagoda Chaminda has said that he had fled to India since MP Duminda Silva had been injured, as otherwise he would not have had to flee the country. He had also said that he had intended to stay in India for around two to three months till such time MP Silva recovered. He had also that there had been many instances in the past when MP Silva had come to his rescue overruling the police, with regard to any action they were to take against him.
|Author:||Saman [ Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:13 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Duminda’s private body guards carried T 56 assault rifles|
Duminda’s private body guards carried T 56 assault rifles-witness
October 21, 2011, 9:27 pm
By Jayantha de Silva / The Island
Colombo Additional Magistrate Prasanna Alwis yesterday returned a verdict of mans laughter into the death of Presidential Advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three others from multiple injuries caused by the discharges from firearms.
The other three who died in the shooting incident on October 8th about an hour before polling closed at Mulleriyawa are Damitha Dasrshana Jayatileke, Manivel Coomaraswamy and Mohomed Jayalabdeen whose death was caused by wounds in the abdomen from bullets discharged from a firearm.
At the inquest held into the death of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra witness Palangedera Kankanamlage Palitha the brother-in-law of the deceased testified that he was at the Polling Booth near Wimalaramaya and came to know that Bharatha had been shot around 3.30 pm.
Describing the incident he said; "I visited the scene. Bharatha was taken to the IDH but was found dead on admission". Later the body was taken to the mortuary. He identified the body and gave a statement to the magistrate.
Next witness Ashan Shanaka Ameradeva a said that on the day of the incident he travelled in a Land Rover behind Bharatha. Apart from him, the others were Sanjeewa, Hasheem, Asoka, Sisil, Gaminige Aiya and MSD PC Priyantha who had a pistol. Baratha was in the front seat.
In front of the library a vehicle had cut across and blocked their path. Duminda had arrived in a convoy of about 20 vehicles. There were about 100 people armed with about twenty T-56’s and between 10 to 15 pistols.
Ameradeva said Duminda came and assaulted Bharatha who fell down.
Duminda shouted " open fire" and there was a hail of bullets. Bharatha was shot in the leg. The crowd dragged him for cover behind the Jeep.
The witness was too shocked. He crawled under the Jeep and entered the vehicle from the opposite side. He saw Chaminda, Kumara, Gaminige Aiya and Kumara had received gunshot injuries.
When inquired whether he could identify those who opened fire he said that at the time he could remember those who opened fire but presently he was unable to identify them.
Later he gave a statement to CID.
At the inquest into the death of Damitha Darshana Jayatileke a security guard attached to the Petroleum Corporation witness.
Susilla Seneviratne said that Damitha left home at about 8.45 am saying that he was visiting Lucky Aiya (Bharatha). He telephoned her at mid day saying that he is coming home soon. But he never came. Around 4.30 pm, a petroleum Corporation employee visited her. He said that Damitha was in trouble and was going to inquire about Damitha. At about 5.30 pm she came to know that he had been fatally shot by Duminda’s men.
In reply to a query by ASP Shannie Abeysekera who along with Chief Inspector Ranjith Munasinghe who led evidence, witness said that when she visited the mortuary to claim the body she was told that the body had been already claimed by a son of the deceased.
Then only she came to know that he was already married, she said.
Susilla said "I have a seventeen year old son by him". She had married him in 1994.
Witness Mulin Perera testified that her husband Manivel Coomaraswamy eked out a living by making concrete slabs.
Apart from that he was on call duty to Bharatha and visited him whenever he was summoned. On the day of the incident Bharatha called him at 8.30 am. At about 11.30am he telephoned her that he was traveling behind the vehicle of Bharatha. Around 3.00 pm someone phoned her and inquired whether he had not watched the TV.
Upon hearing the incident, she went to the hospital with her daughter. There a nurse consoled her and told her not to cry.
Her husband was in a serious condition with four bullet wounds in his abdomen. The stomach injuries were fatal. Apart from that he had a bullet wound in one of his feet. On Monday he succumbed to his injuries.
Telephone Operator of Duminda Silva Tharindu Asanka said that he sometimes stayed in the residence of the MP. "I went in a Jeep to the Tamilnadu area on Baseline Road.
At about 2.30pm I left there", he said. In addition to him there was Galabada, Dematagoda Chaminda. In answer to a query he said that Galabada was armed with a 9mm and Chaminda was also armed with a T-56 automatic weapon. Both MSD constables Hemantha and Anura from Mirihana Police were also armed with T-56.
At Himbutana a red Jeep came at speed. I got down along with Galabada and Chaminda. Bharatha also alighted. Duminda opened fire in the air. He saw Baratha limping.
Three people received injuries. An unknown person opened fire and Duminda fell. His legs went numb with fear. He ducked. The injured were hauled into a vehicle. He saw Galabada opening fire on an injured person who was near a lamp post.
ASP Shannie Abesekara requested a copy of a ruling by former Justice Victor Tennakoon cited by Attorney at Law Ajith Pathirana. He pointed out that there was no possibility for AG intervention here.
CI Merryil Ranjith assisted in the inquest.
The inquest will resume on (24) Monday.
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